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The Avengers: The Bendis Years: Avengers Disassembled or Revisiting my Comic Past (Spoilers)

Avengers Disassembled Cover

Today I got a weird idea. A really strange and weird idea. As Brian Michael Bendis started to rise through the ranks at Marvel I was a little hit or miss on the guy. Then he took over Avengers and I became way more miss along with many other people in the comic store I used to go to. Oh my goodness was I ever one of those that ranted about along with others of the period. It’s why I trended towards DC Comics for a long time as well and didn’t tread far into Marvel waters for a good period of time. In recent years I’ve started to dig more of what Bendis has done on Avengers and other books. I’ve found myself becoming a fan of his and now I’m looking back on his first story with the team, Avengers #500-503 and Avengers Finale or better knwon as Avengers Disassembled and the Epilogue. This was a story that really left Bendis and I at odds as again, this was a series that had gotten close to me so I barely could give it a chance. Now with a much more mellowed state of mind I looked at it again. It’s not perfect but now I have a different look at it. This story may have broken the Avengers back then but in Disassembling the Avengers, Brian Michael Bendis ended up setting the foundation to make the Avengers better than ever.

(Yes before we start there are going to be spoilers for a story eleven years old. I know these spoilers aren’t huge now but if you haven’t read it yet and curious to experience it for yourself, turn back now. Otherwise, on with the show!)

When Bendis first did Avengers Disassembled the sales on the series weren’t what they are nowadays. Back in June 2004 it was #25 with 57,085 books sold. Which isn’t too bad but probably not the numbers Marvel wanted for The Avengers. Which means Bendis comes in and sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make things better in the long term. Boy did he break a few eggs. Some of the deaths could have been handled better, Scott Lang got annihilated by a revived Jack of Hearts, Hawkeye got a weird death fighting The Kree, and Vision got ripped apart by She-Hulk. Add in Ultron bots, and Tony Stark getting a weird drunken feeling at a U.N. Conference and destroying Avengers Mansion, yeah he broke things pretty handily. Though I did enjoy David Finch’s work on this overall, the Vision getting ripped apart by She-Hulk in full rage mode was a powerful visual. I remember people being so mad about all of this, I remember it well. I remember the reveal of all the chaos with The Avengers being caused by The Scarlet Witch, I’ll say that it was an insane twist. She had been around so long and through so many versions of the team, even on the West Coast Avengers, and no one would ever expect the villain to be her. It’s actually heartbreaking when you learn the reason why so she did a lot of damage but it rips your heart out when you learn why she did it.

Avengers Disassembled She-Hulk Destroys Vision

It’s a lot of shock and awe in the coming leading up the Scarlet Witch reveal. At this point though The Avengers were in rough shape anyway so Bendis got leeway to break things apart. I see every single reason why people loved and hated this story. Bendis didn’t hold anything back and wasn’t afraid to kill some darlings in the process. See the fun part about reading this on Marvel Unlimited is how furious people were in the letter pages, they left the letter pages in there. People were not happy at all and they weren’t shy with their feelings. I remember the comic store chats and it did influence me in not giving the book a fair shake or at least a more even handed look. In reading this with a more I guess you’d call it mellowed mind and new eyes, I did enjoy this story even understanding everything that ticked people off.

I did enjoy Avengers Finale as it summed up all of the Avengers history in one big story. See I never felt in the entire story that Bendis was disrespectful of the Avengers, far from it as Bendis was showing here that he loves The Avengers. By doing Avengers Disassembled the way he did, he got a lot of interest for the team and by breaking it got to build it into something different. Avengers Mansion was gone and now the team could become something else and Bendis was more or less telling people to hang in there and see what happens. To this day the Bendis run on Avengers is a divisive force among fans of the team. Yet in a way he’s downright reverent to the old teams but he knew to get it into new direction, he had to break a whole lot of eggs to get there.

That’s why I’m going to read the entire Bendis run on The Avengers. All of it from cover to cover. I’m going to do it by storyline and by the way, yes there will be spoilers. This is my own personal journey here. Feel free to join me on it, leave a comment, talk to me on twitter, let’s have some fun with this. Avengers Assemble as soon The New Avengers shall rise in my journey through The Bendis Years of the Avengers begins.

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Thought Process on What Hooks People Into a Comic

Here’s the thing about comics, there is truly a comic out there for everyone. Depending on who the person is there is a comic out there for everyone. Yet what does hook someone into a book? This is why I call this Thought Process because there’s no real answer, it’s all depending on the person and it’s a straight forward thought blast. In my own case what got me back into comics was seeing The Avengers and seeing a book with all of them together again piqued my curiosity. It can seriously be as simple as that. I remember when the New 52 hit and that sparked someone into buying all of DC Comics for awhile after only buying Conan books and now he buys all sorts of comics. Nowadays for me it’s a mix of things and it all depends on what it is. Sometimes I have no idea who the writer or artist is but I dig the concept so I’m curious. I’ll give a few examples from my own recent readings.

The Shield is one major example, I didn’t know all that much about The Shield but I have loved Archie’s Dark Circle Comics so far. I read the book tonight and loved it to pieces. I mean I really loved it to pieces. To the point where I’m likely putting this on my pull list. Victoria Adams hooked me as a character and I’m intrigued as to how she uses her skills and memories as the series goes on. I knew the barest of bones of a concept and totally fell for the series. I also now need to hunt down Chuck Wendig’s work because I dug the heck out of his writing. So the barest of a concept can pretty much hook someone, no real knowledge of everyone involved, just trust in the quality of the company. So bare bones it was unreal and if you’re curious what cover I got, the movie poster one was amazing.

Agents of ATLAS one-shot out of the Secret Wars was a weird one. Right now I am overall burning out hard on Secret Wars yet I love Agents of ATLAS. Not being written by Jeff Parker and not drawn by Leonard Kirk but I do like Tom Taylor and Steve Pugh so hey let’s do this. Read it tonight and totally kept the feel of Parker and Kirk’s work on the series. Ah it was so freaking cool. See what got me hooked into this was love of the team and liking the creative team initially. Then in reading it I really enjoyed it. It’s part of Secret Wars but it’s just a one shot and a fun one-shot at that. Knowing that a comic is just a one-shot can also be a selling point for someone checking in on a favorite concept.

Now Invincible Iron Man #2, oh wow I cannot believe I wasn’t a big Brian Michael Bendis fan a few years back. How misguided I was once upon a time, now I can’t get enough of his work. Bendis and David Marquez have such a rocking book. Initially what got me into it was simple, Iron Man, Bendis, Marquez, cool armor design and that the armor uses all the abilities from all the other Iron Man armors. Simple as that and the villains and other surprises in this series never ceased to blow me away. I knew what I dug about the comic initially and in reading the first two issues I’m officially hooked on this series.

Really this is but three examples of my own that got me hooked into a comic, there’s many more things out there that can get people hooked. I’m curious as to what gets you all hooked into a comic. Let me know in the comments below, twitter, whatever else. Thanks for reading, take care!

ANAD Marvel Adventures: Karnak #1 and This is Marvel Ellis Unleashed

Warren Ellis on Karnak was what I called the wild card comic. Far and away out of any title this was a big wildcard. It’s also possibly one of my favorite things I’ve seen Ellis do at Marvel up there with Nextwave and his Secret Avengers run. Karnak is brought to life in the best way possible via Warren Ellis. You have a perfect art style with Gerardo Zaffino, amazing colors by Dan Brown suiting the gritty but strangely enjoyable atmosphere this comic has. We’re putting it out there now that I loved this comic. I really loved this comic. The review aspect of this pretty much got incinerated when I was muttering Spider Jerusalem quotes in my head and I knew Karnak was making me really happy. Warren Ellis, Gerardo Zaffino, and Dan Brown really have something here and now I’m going to spend this post having a full blown happy dance about this comic and all the things I love about it. Come join me, seriously, this is the ultimate happy dance post here.

(Note I nearly titled this that it isn’t a review but definitely a comic book happy dance, oh my twitter feed right now got the simple reaction to my comic, this is the fleshed out version of it.)

If you’ve never read a single Inhuman anything in your life, you’re fine reading Karnak. If you’re just a fan of Warren Ellis you can read Karnak and have a blast. This is the book that I feel out of a lot of the recent Warren Ellis Marvel adventures suits him best. I liked his Moon Knight pretty well but Karnak I totally adore from the first issue. I think it is because Karnak is an easy character to get a handle on. He sees the weakness in all things, he can see the flaws and use them to his advantage. He’s got his Tower of Wisdom and he’s the Magister of it or as explained in the book, the Inhuman title for High Priest. It does reference the Terrigen Mists but I think it does a good enough of a job explaining what the mists did. It is the Karnak show and even better you get fun appearances from Coulson and Simmons, which now makes me want an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. book written by Ellis.

Extra bonus points for Gerardo Zaffino’s art on this comic. It’s got such a nice feel to it, it’s got a grit to it yet smooth as silk when it counts. Karnak is someone who can feel the room around him and Ellis got a good partner in Zaffino to bring that out. Karnak is the kind of guy who when he enters a room, he knows his place in it. That’s how Zaffino handled him in his art and it was great to see that he could do great work with showing emotions or lack thereof. A great sense of storytelling is at work here as even with the action, it was spot on gorgeous. Dan Brown is also this phenomenal colorist, in a book mostly shaded in darker tones he’s adept with it. You could feel as though you were in an old broken down headquarters. The final page was also a masterwork in popping your eyes out with action and then begging for more, that’s pure art, writing, and coloring merging together to make beautiful music.

Yes, Karnak is good and even with Warren Ellis involved I get the feeling no one will know what to make of it. I say though for the Marvel reader and a fan of the Inhumans, you’ll dig it and for the Warren Ellis fan, I am restating this again that you’ll probably dig it too. Warren Ellis is on his A-game with this series. Karnak #1 comes highly recommended by me. Enjoy it.

Chill Bloggity Thing for 10/18/15 and Announcements and Fun!

Today has been a fun day to say the least. I’m pretty excited as first off I’m catching up on my reading backlog bit by bit to hooray and huzzah! I read Veil by Greg Rucka and Toni Fejzula and you know I still dig it as much as I did when I did my review of it when the first issue was released. I never did get to read the rest but I did love how it all turned out. I kind of wish there would have been a sixth issue to flesh things out a little more but overall I’m pretty happy with it. Toni Fejzula is an awesome artist and I really can’t wait to see whatever Fejzula is up to next. Such a great style and amazing colors and Rucka was having fun with making you wonder just who Veil was and what she was about. It’s definitely a series that was shrouded in mystery only when it was revealed, it was at a good point but the revelation made me wish there was that one more issue. That’s why I wanted a little more time with the series to flesh it out but I’m satisfied for the most part and it made for good reading for a Sunday night.

Now as for announcements, I am going to be helping Phoenix a.k.a @Da_Nerdette on her Comics and Coffee feed every Friday. It was cool when she messaged me this morning to ask me about it and I gladly accepted. I’m going to be doing posts on Comic history, trivia, all sort of cool retro stuff on a Friday. It’s going to be fun and it’s going back to what I did at Comics Crux at one point which was a comics history column. Think of this the comics history column on twitter. This should be a lot of fun and I think you all are going to enjoy this a lot. I’m going to enjoy diving back into some comics history again. Considering this collides beautifully into an upcoming project I’m working on this is pretty exciting. I’m happy she’s letting me help her out and this is going to be fun. So every Friday we’ll be having some fun comics history goodness. Even more I’m plotting out a cool thing for Supergirl to get people hyped up for the new series next Monday.

Now as for tonight, I’m going to be watching Once Upon a Time and The Walking Dead. A good TV watching evening to be had and then I might catch Talking Dead and have it on while I’m doing other things. Catch up to you all in a bit, bye for now!

ANAD Marvel Adventures: A Thought Process on Sam Wilson: Captain America

Here’s the thing about Sam Wilson: Captain America, this is a good comic. I bought this in all honesty because I saw D-Man and Misty Knight and was sold and it caught my eye. Daniel Acuna’s art looked the best it has ever looked and even more sold. There is so much good here and then a speech happened in the issue that pretty much set people off. Sam Wilson is going to be a different Captain America than what we’ve had before. He does a speech that divided the Marvel Universe against him and now he’s on a new path. It’s going to be a more political Captain America book and that’s not a bad thing at all. It’s also a new way of showing how Sam Wilson and his team are going to be a bit more low budget. In the vibe of Uncanny Avengers actually, though without the Deadpool Merchandise funding the team angle. Not sure how this team is going to get funding but it is a more daring take on the character. It’s Captain America with a new take on the Marvel Universe and the state of the world.

It’s great timing to have Sam Wilson: Captain America hit the way it did, right at the time where we’re on the eve of a crowded and strange Presidential adventure right now with all the candidates we have. Spencer really does a nice job of showing Wilson’s reasoning for going in the direction he does too. It really does fit the times that we are in. Captain America has always had a level of politics to it over the years, Nomad and other stories but this is the most political the character has been in awhile. I really found myself getting into this as between the defined direction of the comic and the fact that this team doesn’t have limitless funds, that’s interesting to me. As a reader I like that this team has a risk to whatever they’re doing and they are taking chances and taking stands. This is a good thing for the book and keeps me personally more engaged with the series long term. Even more cool, Redwing, no matter what Redwing is always great.

If you’ve never been quite sold on Sam Wilson as Captain America, read this book. Nick Spencer is going to be doing some great stuff with this character and even better taking Misty Knight, D-Man, and his trusty falcon Redwing along for the ride. Try this and before you look at all the headlines and stuff, read it and it’ll make sense as to why this book is going where it is going. Give it a chance and I think you’ll enjoy it. Right now at this point, I think Sam Wilson is a rocking Captain America and Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna are a great team to bring his adventures to life.

Chill Bloggity Thing for 10/15/15 with Some Quick ANAD Marvel Thoughts!

Today has been my day of library, reading, and getting all sorts of cool stuff done for future adventures. Tomorrow will be mostly errands and so on. Even funnier I saw I had a coupon for Half Price Books from my birthday that I had somehow missed. I am as shocked as you are on me somehow missing a coupon for my birthday. Of course it expires on Saturday so hey an excuse for me to visit Half Price Books, oh shucks what a torment to visit a bookstore I would visit anyway. That’s probably going to be tomorrow outside of massive amounts of writing I plan on doing, or at least get in an hour or two of writing or more depending on what the day holds. As I say my Habitica is loving me right now, I am going to have the best set of gear tasking can buy on Habitica at this point.

Since I’m also still awake and have a few random thoughts popping into my head with some All-New All-Different Marvel books, I decided to quick blast a few before I go to sleep tonight. As let’s face it these will be short and sweet and I’ll get my random thoughts on them out of my system so here we go!

Contest of Champions #1:

I loved the original miniseries when I read it and that was my initial interest in this series. I didn’t know much about the fighting game until just after reading this issue and downloading the game on my phone. The simple concept of Contest of Champions is it uses Battleworld as a way to unleash different characters from all over the Marvel Universe to battle against one another. Same way as the mobile fighting game. Al Ewing has a lot of fun with this though as you can go nuts with a concept like this. I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did though because it is a tie-in to a mobile game but is it ever a blast to read. Paco Medina’s art is gorgeous with Juan Vlasco’s inking and has a fitting look to handling the endless atmosphere and different worlds within Contest of Champions. With an impressive coloring job by David Curiel that fits this series well, It’s a solid book. Even if you’re not playing the game you’ll probably find yourself having fun with this book.

Invincible Iron Man #1:

Wow I really liked this comic a lot. Brian Michael Bendis has been a writer that I’ve been growing to love in recent years.  I’m excited for Invincible Iron Man as the new armor being able to use all the powers of any Iron Man armor is so cool. The Armor is slick and dynamic and David Marquez’s art captures that sleek new look. I loved Justin Ponsor’s coloring on this comic book, it’s bright, fun, and brimming with excitement, I’m beyond pleased. Bendis is also doing great character work with Tony himself and building up his new world. It’s a brave new world for Tony Stark and it shows as we have a take on a classic villain coming back into play and a crazy ending that practically begged me to want #2. This is one I am going to be buying on an ongoing basis that’s for sure.

I’m going to do a few more tomorrow on Guardians of the Galaxy, Sam Wilson Captain America #1, and Spider-Gwen #1 and go from there. Not sure if they’ll be full columns or just me doing these quick blasts like I am now. Anyway, to bed with me as I’m getting a little sleepy. Take care everyone and hope you all are doing well out there, bye for now!

Chill Bloggity Thing for 10/12/15: The Adventure to Up! Up! and Away

Call this Chill Bloggity Thing, I make new friends. I decided to make a wander over to Up! Up! and Away in Blue Ash as it was a new location of the store and in seeing the pictures I could tell it looked really nice. The pictures don’t do it justice as this store was the nicest comic store I’ve ever been in. You go in and the store looks like the fanciest hotel you’ve ever been in. There’s a reason why it looks so good, it was once a Drees Home Store and put it simply, it was a fancy store that is now the nicest looking comic store in the area. It’s located in a town called Blue Ash here and it is a pretty nice place too. This was seriously unlike any comic store experience I’ve had, it felt like part comic store and part museum. It’s the five star hotel of comic stores. It has a solid comic selection that they’re building up but it is going to be a huge store once everything is in there. They’re building up a back issue area, gaming tables, and more as they get more into the store. They just wanted to get the initial storefront open and ready for business and get everything else ready as it goes on.

I’ll give them credit they did good with the store stock and it is awe inspiring. You can’t help but get lost in the store seeing all the cool displays and special setups for each of the characters and franchises. It is well organized and easy to shop in as much as stare at all the cool statues and so forth which are for sale as well. It’s truly the nicest looking comic store I’ve ever been in. I’m looking forward to seeing how this store does in the future. I will pop in from time to time to see how it is going over there. I see bright things in the future for that store and one day I might just have to visit their Cheviot location as I once went there when it was Comic Book World way back when. Nice to know that there’s another cool comic store in the area.

Outside of that, now I shall be signing off for now as I shall use tonight as a recharge night. I shall get back into things tomorrow, until then I shall catch up to you all later. Bye for now!

The Library Adventures: An exploration into Doug TenNapel’s Cardboard

I recently got Doug TenNapel’s Cardboard from my local library on a whim as it looked interesting to me. The story of it is about a man named Mike who is having a rough time finding work as a carpenter around town. Mike wants to be able to do something for his son Cam’s birthday and gets a mysterious cardboard box from a seller on the side of the road. From the most terrible birthday present imaginable to a wild adventure unlike anything this father and son imagined, this is Cardboard. The cover shows an idea of the imagination at hand here because when you’re a kid and you get a cardboard box, it is a sign of infinite possibilities. Which is why TenNapel’s story plays on this aspect and takes it to a new level of imagination unleashed. If you’re curious about his name he’s one of the creators of Earthworm Jim and the recent release Amikrog. It’s weird I never heard much about it back in 2012 or I just wasn’t paying attention to it, likely I somehow missed the reviews. I’m glad I got to read it finally as now I get a fun little story to talk about in Doug TenNapel’s Cardboard.

One thing I noticed about Cardboard is the book reads quickly and that’s not bad as the intended audience for this is kids. It’s totally all ages though and you’ll be able to pick it up in no time. Mike and his son Cam are good characters and a lot of fun to see how they handle the cardboard box and just how powerful this big box really is. I can see this easily being an animated movie as some of the creations from this box look and beg to be animated as much as they look great on the page. TenNapel’s art is beautiful with lots of great animated faces, creations, and fantastic visuals. I think the villain of the piece Marcus is a strange egg in TenNapel’s writing, overall it’s the rich brat character mixed in with Spike from Toy Story. It might possibly be a form of Spike from Toy Story with a level of sympathy that Spike never got to have, it’s weird. It balances out through by the end of the story but it still doesn’t take away from how likable Cardboard is.

The creation of Bill the Boxer in Cardboard is a cool idea and hints at the cool visuals to come. Whenever this comic becomes an animated series or even a movie I think kids are going to go cardboard box crazy. I really did like this book and I think if I read it as a kid I would have dug it and even adult Wesley likes this book too, so a good example of a nice all ages comic. It’s well worth checking out, not sure if I’d ever really want to own it but definitely worth reading. Thank you local library for letting me check out another neat adventure into the comic book world.

The Wesley Comic Files: A Review of Axcend #1

Axcend #1 Cover

At one point I was heavily into MMORPG’s specifically World of Warcraft and City of Heroes, which is why Axcend #1 caught my attention. I also like Shane Davis as an artist via his work on Superman Earth One and Shadow Walk. This is Davis’s first time writing and drawing a comic book so I’m intrigued. One thing is for sure, I knew this book would look good visually from the preview art I’ve seen and story wise it sounded cool. Video games and comics are two things I dig and since I mentioned I used to be big into MMORPG’s, this was up my alley. Now after all the preview art and everything else, now Axcend is released upon the comic reading world. Could this be a new avatar or something to reroll? Time to begin the adventure into the virtual world of Axcend #1!

Now let’s get this rolling with the fact that Axcend is a gorgeous looking book. It’s drop dead gorgeous to look at and it is a great looking comic book without a doubt. All the characters in this comic are well designed and capture the MMORPG culture well. Michelle Delecki’s inks work well with Davis’s art and give it a nice extra polish to the piece. Add in some jaw dropping color work from Morry Hollowell, this is one great looking comic. In the writing of the story you get that feel of how the players interact with one another in the Axcend game. It also even reflects a Wii U style capability with a handheld device to play the game away from your console. Even in the scenes outside of the MMORPG, it has a nice grounded look to it and in either case work well off each other.

I think character wise is where things get a little mixed for me. Eric Morn is the lead of this comic and he’s dealing with a major personal event in his life. Eric himself is easy and hard to root for all at the same time. He’s a weird character to look at. You like him but you want to smack him out of everything he’s doing through, though his school life is a major pain. I really liked him in his school atmosphere as he could be rebellious as a student but he seems like an overall decent guy but someone who has gone through a lot. It’s interesting and I will be curious how he grows as the series goes on. The other characters he interacts with in the story Rayne and Ruin are so far only known as players in the game and that’s it. So far hard to judge them but from the events of the first issue, the reality and fantasy of this world is going to blur together quickly.

Axcend #1 was a decent read, not perfect but I enjoyed the comic and curious about where the story will go. It got the MMORPG aspect perfect but everything else is still in development. If you’re looking for something that appeals to the video game and comic reader in you, Axcend could be just what the comic book doctor ordered.

Traveling Through Old School Valiant for the First Time

I was a comic fan in the early 90’s but I never read anything of Valiant outside of the occasional Nintendo and WWF/E comic of the time. Valiant’s line of comics is pretty unknown to me. I actually had a few of their comics in my collection but never really read them. I’ve read the Acclaim/Valiant stuff, specifically Quantum and Woody, but outside of that most of that is pretty unknown to me too. I am now starting a small side project into looking over the old Valiant books starting with Eternal Warrior. Not sure how I’m going to do this one yet but I am having fun with reading the comics. It doesn’t have near the 90’s sheen of big guns and other stuff of the period but it has a definite style to it. Eternal Warrior is a pretty solid book overall though wow It is hard to believe that it started being two parts of a major crossover story with Unity. First two issues are part of Unity and I do say these books operate under Jim Shooter’s every issue of a comic could be their first rule so they’re all pretty easy to dive into. Heck even if you weren’t reading Unity at the time you could figure it out, that’s actually pretty amazing.

I’ve got a weird 90’s action comics road ahead of me and if I ever decide to dive through a full X-Force journey of the 90’s, boy howdy that’ll be a ride. Between all the other bits of reading I’m planning on doing, maybe I should focus on one thing at a time at this point or one or two things at a time. Considering my brain and how it can bounce about to ideas, better said than done. I will say though these Eternal Warrior books make me really want to do a full old school Valiant project. I’m having a pretty good time with reading these. I’ve heard that near the end of the original Valiant line before Acclaim/Valiant some of these books can get pretty ugly but we’ll see. Heck if anything it’ll be more entertaining to see if my brain melts upon itself in reading these darned things for the first time. I’m not jumping to any conclusions until later, I’m going to strap myself in and enjoy the reading.

Now I start my ride through Old School Valiant and hey I’m going to have some fun with this by golly. I’ll figure out how to work this later until then I’ll just enjoy the adventure.